I am writing to you as my representative to express my concern about the two-child tax credit limit and ‘rape clause’.
This abhorrent law is anti-family, and it discriminates against women and children and people from religious or cultural backgrounds who oppose contraception or abortion. I have heard it said that this policy is intended to ‘help’ families make more responsible decisions about the number of children they have. But there is no evidence that the policy will do that. What it will do is hurt families that already have three or more children, and families that maybe could ‘afford’ their children at the time but have since been struck by unemployment, illness, injury, death or family breakdown.
I am especially concerned that the two-child cap will force thousands of children into poverty. The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that up to 200,000 more children will face poverty in the UK because of this cap. Child tax credits are intended to support the raising of children and keep them out of poverty, yet this law has been passed by the Government in the full knowledge that it WILL place more children in poverty. This is unfair, illogical and cruel to children.
It will also force women to make decisions that they shouldn’t have to make. In Northern Ireland, women may feel financially pressured to break the law by obtaining abortion pills. In England, Wales and Scotland, women may feel forced to have an unwanted abortion. These are unconscionable choices to force women to make.
I am also strongly opposed to the so-called ‘rape clause’, which will force women to disclose that they have been raped, name the child born as a consequence of that rape, and risk prosecution if she does not then report the rape to the police. This is a cruel and callous way to treat rape victims, and it will undoubtedly magnify the extreme trauma that they have already endured. For those whose rapist is a husband or partner, it could actually place victims in danger if they are forced to disclose a rape without safety planning in place.
I urge you as my political representative to stand up for women, children and families, and use all the powers at your disposal to scrap the two-child cap and rape clause.
I look forward to hearing from you.